Merihaka

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A view on Merihaka in July, 2005
Apartment blocks in Merihaka during the winter

Merihaka (Swedish: Havshagen) is a seashore residential area in central Helsinki, Finland consisting of large high-rise concrete housing blocks. It is located by the Baltic Sea next to districts of Hakaniemi, Kallio and Sörnäinen. It is known for its tall, grey buildings that some find gloomy. The residents of Merihaka tend to value highly the scenery, central location, tranquil atmosphere and lack of cars. The housing complex was built, partly on reclaimed land, during the 1970s and 1980s, and today it is home to some 2,300 people.

A distinctive feature, shared with some other places in Helsinki such as Itä-Pasila, is traffic segregation: the streets for cars and buses together with large car parks are on a level of their own, below that of pedestrian footways and the main entrances to the buildings. This arrangement was to increase the cosiness of the area as well as improve traffic safety.

The apartments in Merihaka are not among the cheapest or most unwanted in Helsinki. This is mainly due to the area's central location, only about one kilometre from the core of downtown Helsinki. Some flats, with magnificent sea views, command very high prices. The attractiveness of Merihaka is increased by its small-boat harbour and many residents are members of the local yacht club. Public transportation possibilities are diverse and rapid.

The most famous resident of Merihaka was, probably, the former prime minister of Finland, Kalevi Sorsa.

Merihaka is the permanent location for a famous restaurant steamboat Wäiski, which resides at its harbour. There is also a very active sports hall in Merihaka.

Merihaka as seen from the near-by Tervasaari island

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Coordinates: 60°10′45″N 24°57′40″E / 60.17917°N 24.96111°E / 60.17917; 24.96111